Fried chicken, deservedly one of our most
popular fried foods, is not technically deep-fried, because it isn't
completely submerged in the oil. Rather, it is cooked by the method called
shallow-frying, in which food is fried in enough oil or other fat to come
halfway up its sides. Frying gets the chicken piping hot and very crispy -
when you want a really great crust, it's the best method.
Cooks debate endlessly about how to coat
chicken to get the best crust. However, we can just dredge the chicken
parts in flour. Since chicken skin browns perfectly well on its own, it
needs only a little help to get really crisp. We save more substantial
batters made with flour, water, oil and sometimes eggs, to deep-fry moist
foods like vegetables that don't have a skin and so need an additional
something to produce a crispy outer layer. Don't use a bread-crumb coating
for frying chicken as the breading just gets too oily. Breaded chicken
breasts are better sautéed. Two to four hours in a white wine marinade
before frying will add enough flavor to the chicken so that it won't need
a sauce. But if you like, serve fried chicken with a salsa or a flavored
Fry chicken at 360oF.
An electric frying pan is good for
frying chicken because the built-in thermostat makes it easy to regulate
Most cooks use vegetable oil for frying
chicken, but "pure" olive oil (not extra virgin, which is expensive)
will give it an even better flavor.
1. Cut the wings off a chicken and
then cut it into 8 pieces. If desired, marinate the chicken for 2 to 4
hours in a mixture of chopped garlic, sliced onions, white wine and a
little olive oil.
Heat the oil in a electric frying pan or large heavy pot to 360oF.
Gently lower the chicken pieces into the oil with tongs. Start
checking the chicken after 5 minutes.
2. Just before frying, toss the
(drained) chicken pieces in flour and pat off the excess.
When the pieces have browned on one side, turn them over. The chicken
is done when the pieces feel firm to the touch with no fleshiness,
about 10 to 15 minutes in all. Drain on paper towels.